Friday, October 26, 2012

Re: [RDA-L] First issue vs. latest issue

Posting to RDA-L

On 25/10/2012 15:11, Heidrun Wiesenmüller wrote:
Let's take the following example:
A becomes B (major change)
B becomes C (minor change)
C becomes D (minor change)
D becomes E (major change)

This leads to the following three entities:
Entity 1 (A)
Entity 2 (B, C and D)
Entity 3 (E)
For the three entities, three records are created. There are links between them, so in a catalogue you can easily jump between them.

Now consider entity 2. According to RDA, it looks like this:

Title proper: B
Later title proper: C
Later title proper: D

In a conventional display, B would be given in the title area, whereas C and D would be shown as notes.

Now according to our practice, the entity looks like this:

Title proper: D
Earlier title proper: B
Earlier title proper: C
These sorts of practices always interest me and I try to come up with ideas that bring them together. One way of looking at this would be that a record for a serial is the manifestation, and that this single manifestation has variant titles (not necessarily earlier ones, but variants), similar to monographs that have spine titles, a variant title on p. 4 of cover, and so on. That is how AACR2 and RDA consider them. But the Germans (and I assume others--many?) would consider them in the way you describe.

One of the first things catalogers must do when cataloging is determine the chief source of information. This can be easy but is always tricky with serials and other continuations of course, since there are many more options: the "chief source" is not only on a certain page of the issue, but there also the problem of choosing the first or last issue of the continuation (for textual materials).

It occurs to me that we have the concept of *the* title of an item but as we see here, there are problems with choosing a single title and there always have been. Why do we have to pick one as being *the* title? We always have but perhaps matters could be reconsidered. New systems allow novel possibilities. Let's imagine something rather blasphemous and almost impossible to conceive of in a card environment: that 245a and b could be repeatable. As a result, all 246s (and 740s?) would be equal titles to what is in the 245 now. This would mean that when there is more than one title, there is not *the* title of an item but different titles of equal worth. And each 245 could have its own note explaining where it comes from, as they do now, perhaps in a subfield i, as in the 246.

This is not all that novel of an idea, since the VIAF brings together different headings for a name, and does not choose any as *the* form, and these can be displayed in different ways. I also keep referring to Thomas Hyde's catalog of the Bodleian Library where his name headings actually included the cross references!, with the example of his heading for Roger Bacon: "Rogerus Baconus, seu Bachonus sive Bacconus". This kind of heading could be done today. For instance, choosing Thomas a Kempis from the VIAF, it could display as:

Author: "Thomas, a` Kempis, 1380-1471, or Thomas, a Kempis, or Thomas à Kempis (1379-1471), or Tomáš Kempenský, 1379-1471, or Tomás de Kempis, ca. 1380-1471, or Thomas a Kempis, ca 1380-1471". 

If there are too many forms, there can always be a "more..." option as we see in many pages on the web.

This would be an example of handling all headings equally and the first could display, e.g. taken from the country information from your IP address.

This kind of situation could work more simply for titles since if the 245ab were made repeatable, it would just be a matter then of how to display them. There is already the example of Dublin Core which allows all elements to be repeated, including the title.

In your example:
Title proper: B
Later title proper: C
Later title proper: D

Title proper: D
Earlier title proper: B
Earlier title proper: C

it could be something like:
Title proper: B (time period)
Title proper: C (time period)
Title proper: D (time period)

and the style sheet could order the titles however the library would want. The display could also follow something like Thomas Hyde's name headings:
Title: "Title B", or "Title C", or "Title D" (in any order the library chooses)

Just sharing some thoughts.

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